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COVID-19 is a new coronavirus identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in China. Chinese authorities identified the new coronavirus, which has resulted in thousands of confirmed cases in China, with additional cases being identified in a growing number of countries internationally.
People who are infected with COVID-19 have developed mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath and potentially respiratory distress. There are many types of illnesses that can cause these types of respiratory symptoms. Individuals who have these symptoms and have traveled to an area of sustained or widespread transmission (Level 2 or Level 3: CDC Travel Notice) in the last 14 days prior to symptom onset or have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 should call ahead to a health-care professional and mention your recent travel or close contact. Your health-care professional will work with the local health department to determine if testing is appropriate.
It’s not clear yet how easily COVID-19 spreads from person to person. Coronaviruses typically spread through the air by coughing and sneezing. These droplets are inhaled by other people. Also, it may spread by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth, although this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
On-campus resources remain open and available to support students, though hours of operation or modes of delivery may vary. Please check the appropriate websites for updated hours and other important information.
- Brookens Library is closed, but librarians are available to assist via chat or Zoom. You can continue to use the library virtually.
- Health Services: Walk-in appointments are currently suspended. Please call 217-206-6676 beforehand to schedule a visit.
- Counseling Center: The center remains open, and staff will also be available remotely for students not returning to campus.
- Disability Services: Services will remain available for students. For information, call 217-206-6666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Center for Academic Success and Advising: The center will remain open for in-person appointments and will be available for all services remotely as well. For information, call 217-206-6503 or email email@example.com.
- Career Development Center: Services are provided remotely. Students are encouraged to request appointments using their UIS CareerConnect accounts for personalized assistance, to use Career Suite call-in hours for quick tips and guidance, or to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 217-206-6508.
- ITS: Students who need technology assistance should contact the Helpdesk at 217-206-6000 or email@example.com. (3/19/20)
The CDC recommendations:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick with respiratory symptoms.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- If you have not already done so, discuss influenza vaccination with your health-care provider to help protect against seasonal influenza.
Public health agencies currently do not recommend that people wear masks when they are in public. Additionally, scientists are not sure whether wearing a mask in public actually keeps healthy people from getting sick. It’s most important for people who are sick to wear a mask in a health-care setting (such as a waiting room) to avoid exposing other people when they cough or sneeze.
In some parts of the world, mask use is customary. People wear masks often for a variety of reasons, including to avoid pollen and air pollution, as a courtesy to others when they have the common cold, and for other cultural and even social reasons.
If you are sick, stay home. If you develop symptoms — such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath — within 14 days of your return from personal or official travel to a country with a COVID-19 outbreak, have been exposed to someone with confirmed COVID-19, or you’ve developed a fever and respiratory symptoms, please do not show up at a clinic, urgent care or other health facility without calling first. Your provider will need to take special measures to protect other people in the clinic. UIS students should contact Health Services.
People are thought to be most contagious when they are the sickest. However, there have been reports of the virus spreading before people have symptoms.
It’s possible I’ve been exposed to the virus, but I don’t have any symptoms. Why would a health-care provider recommend I stay home?
According to Harvard Health, some people can carry and transmit COVID-19 without showing symptoms. Quarantines are designed to prevent disease transmission by restricting the movements of individuals who have been, or might have been, exposed to COVID-19 until they’re out of the window of developing the disease. Per current CDC guidelines, asymptomatic people will be provided info on COVID-19 and will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.
You’re our first line of defense. We encourage everyone to stay home if you’re sick or to self-quarantine for 14 days if you’ve traveled to a high-risk area or been in contact with someone with COVID-19. The No. 1 way to stop the spread of germs is proper handwashing, and signs in all campus bathrooms provide step-by-step instructions. Additional info about handwashing is available under Prevention Tips. Facilities staff are also hard at work on campus disinfecting public areas such as corridors, stairwells, bathrooms, breakrooms, class and conference rooms, elevators and auditoriums. This work includes details such as cleaning hand rails, elevator buttons, ATMs, desk tops, bathroom fixtures, and more.
UIS is suspending all in-person events and meetings with 50 people or more. If appropriate, organizers should seek alternative ways of conducting events and meetings, such as livestreams or conference calls. UIS also strongly recommends reconsidering the need for any in-person meetings at this time, regardless of attendance size, and if necessary, to practice appropriate social distancing and other preventative measures. (3/18/20)
Many events are postponed or canceled. Check uispac.com frequently for specific updates. Please contact the UIS Ticket Office at 217-206-6160 for additional questions or guidance concerning UIS Performing Arts Center events. (3/18/20)
The Student Union Beginning and Food Studio will be closed until April 7, 2020. Starting on March 25, 2020 meals will be available in the LRH Grab and Go Window from 10:00am-1:00pm to students with active meal plans. Two meals per day will be provided by an outside vendor to residents with meal plans who responded to the email sent earlier today from Residence Life. Please refer to the email so we may assess any allergies or interest in provided meals. This is an effort to help ensure meals are provided as students shelter in place. (3/25/20)
President Killeen announced that commencement ceremonies will not take place as scheduled in May at our universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. Diplomas will be mailed, and UIS leadership is exploring possible alternative events to honor the Class of 2020. We understand you may have additional questions. Please continue to check the commencement webpage to learn about details as they unfold. (3/17/20)
As of March 18, the ID Center is closed. Routine replacements for all lost or expired IDs will not be available—except for emergencies only. The i-card programs office will address emergencies on an individual basis. While this office is closed, Campus Cash deposits are available online. Cash deposits are accepted at the VTM located in the Public Affairs Center, near the Cashier’s office. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Cox Children’s Center will close at 5:30 p.m. Friday, March 20. It will temporarily close for at least one week and hopes to reopen at a later date. The temporary closure gives the center an opportunity to assess the situation and affirm their ability to provide quality services. Families will not be billed while they are closed. Additional questions can be emailed to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. (3/19/20)